“What are you doing, you piece of shit?” Sandesh shrieked. His wife Pratibha looked at him, her spirits undeterred and she pulled a heavy book from the stack on the mantelpiece. “Writing something like this,” she declared.
“Have you lost your mind? Women should be using their hands only for cooking and cleaning. Pens or typewriters find no place in your life. Go and get me lunch, you foolish woman,” he insulted her as usual. He had never spoken to her sweetly ever since they got married, three years ago. For him, she was only a maid in the house; she would never be the mistress of his heart.
He was forty and she was twenty-two, her face gleaming with the early twenties charisma. She was the brightest student in the town but her parents could not afford to educate her beyond her B.A. (Eng. Hons.). She wanted to study and be self-dependent but she was a rose nipped in the bud. Aspiring to be a writer, she penned phenomenal poems; wrote versatile verses and scripted sagacious sagas. She was gifted- she could weave together beads of scattered words into a well-knit story. She could jumble ideas and conjure fiction like a sorcerer. She wrote what her heart dictated. It was her dream to spark a revolution using her pen, but she got married. She couldn’t let her story end before it began.
Every morning, she devoted herself to household chores. If he saw her idle even for a second, he hit her as though she was made of stone. She wrote a word or two when he was away or at work. She decided to burn the midnight oil and write a book highlighting the woes of a woman who aspires to be a somebody in life. She would strive to bring the fairer sex an identity and respect in the world; she would help make their lives fair in the true sense.
She took out the typewriter she brought from her natal home three years back. She had never dared to touch it in his presence. She feared he would discard it like crap; or worse, sell it to buy himself more liquor. She wrote as soon as he left home. She wrote as he slept. She wrote as he drank. She wrote whenever his gaze was away from her. She stole many such opportunities; after all, he looked at her only when he hit her or devoured her body. Otherwise, she was a stranger to him.
This routine continued for two months but he saw her today. He came back home early. He saw her writing something and his blood began to boil. He only expected her to be in the kitchen. He could not see her doing anything else. This came as a severe blow to his ego. He took a cane kept below the table, ready to hit her till her hand detached and fell off. Today would be the last day she would be able to use her hands to do anything.
His hand rose in mid-air; but it stayed where it was. She had assumed another cane in her hand, a bit bigger; she was ready to strike back. He dropped his cane. He looked at her with wide, blood-shot eyes. How did this timid lamb turn into a hungry tigress?
“While you were exploiting me for the past three years, I was studying for my M.A. I never went to my parent’s place during summer or winter; I went to appear for my exams then. I have an M.A. degree now and a job paying much more than yours. I have been selected to work with a firm that hires young writers. You will never understand that the pen is mightier than the sword and always shall be. No longer will I work as a maid in your house. I have arranged for my own accommodation close to the firm. I owe my life to writing; I’ve died every moment staying with a hang-man like you. Never again dare to dominate or exploit a woman. She can do anything and everything- much better than you.”
She packed her bag and left the house, leaving behind only one book; a thick one lying on the dining table, it was named ‘Stronger Than Ever- from Somebody to Nobody’ and had the picture of a confident woman painted on its cover.
This short story was written by my friend Aishwarya who blogs at The Power Of Dreams.
If you liked the story do leave comments here or on her blog complimenting her about it. I’m sure she’ll like that!
This short story is a part of a series I’m posting written by my friends based on Harry Potter prompts.
You can read the post where I explain it all here.
This is the previous story in the series.
The prompt “And she pulled a heavy book from the stack on the mantelpiece.” is from Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.
I’ll put up the next story on the 22nd of December and the prompt is “ Perhaps tonight- after a month of waiting- would be the night-“